Objective: To operationalize items based on categories of
the International Classification of Functioning, Disability
and Health (ICF) relevant to patient problems that are addressed by physiotherapeutic interventions in the acute hospital, and to test the reliability of these items when applied by physiotherapists.
Methods: A selection of 124 ICF categories was operationalized in a formal decision-making and consensus process. The reliability of the newly operationalized item list was tested with a cross-sectional study with repeated measurements.
Results: The item writing process resulted in 94 dichotomous
and 30 polytomous items. Data were collected in a convenience sample of 28 patients with neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, or internal organ conditions, requiring physical therapy in an acute hospital. Fifty-six percent of the polytomous and 68% of the dichotomous items had a raw agreement of 0.7 or above, whereas 36% of all polytomous and 34% of all dichotomous items had a kappa coefficient of 0.7 and above.
Conclusion: The study supports that the ICF is adaptable to
professional and setting-specific needs of physiotherapists.
Further research towards the development of reliable instruments for physiotherapists based on the ICF seems justified.
Key words: ICF; classification; reliability; outcome measures; health status assessment.